After a family tragedy, former football hero Jack McGarry keeps the world at arm's length—a challenge now that his PR firm has moved to neighborly Fool's Gold, California.
Larissa Owens knows where she stands—Jack sees her as just another one of the guys. No matter what her heart wishes, Jack's her boss, not her boyfriend. But then Larissa's big secret is revealed…by her mother!
When Jack discovers the truth about Larissa's feelings, her touch suddenly becomes tantalizing, and he's not sure he wants to resist. But if he gives in to desire, heartache is sure to follow. Friendship or true love—will Jack go for the ultimate play?
Here's what I loved about Until We Touch:
- Larissa. She's a rescuer, a bleeding heart, and I love her for it. Whether it's kids with cancer to animals (tame or wild) in need of shelter or rescue, Larissa's got a big heart and an urge to help that sometimes overwhelms her common sense.
- Larissa and Jack's cluenessness. Jack is Larissa's best friend as well as her boss - she's his personal assistant and masseuse. He puts up the money and the famous face for their charitable work; she finds the worthy causes and handles the personal side. And neither of them has a clue that they're really in love with each other - until Larissa's mom outs her. They go to some lengths to deny it to themselves as well as each other, but, well, this is a romance so you know how well that's going to work.
- Jack. For a while, I didn't understand why Jack keeps anyone from getting close. Oh, he's friends with his teammates-turned-business partners, but he doesn't let anyone, even Larissa, inside. Once I realized why, I hurt for the boy he was, but at the same time, it makes him more likable and much more human.
- The humor. That's one of the things Susan Mallery does really well. There were scenes that had me chuckling, even laughing out loud. Omigosh, the scene in the massage room. . .
- A young man they both take under their wing. I don't want to give too much away, but Jack was so good with him - and then there was a scene that broke my heart.
- Larissa's cat. And her relationship with it. She's never actually had a cat before, and seeing her fall in love with this beautiful Ragdoll was really sweet. (Even if I did have to Google Ragdolls to see what they look like.)
- The intensity. Once Larissa and Jack do start acknowledging their attraction, if not their deeper feelings, they've got really good chemistry. Enough said.
- Fool's Gold and the people in it. Especially Jack's teammates, who have his back as long as he doesn't hurt Larissa. And the mayor, who I'm convinced is psychic.
And the not so much:
- Larissa's plan to get over Jack. Seriously? How on earth could she think that was going to work?
- Jack's behavior, when he starts running scared. Oh, if I could only have given him a piece of my mind! Again, I'm trying to avoid spoilers -- but you had to figure he was going to back away, right? Actually, the guy-backing-off theme is one of Mallery's favorite tropes. It usually stems from the guy's past trauma, but it's getting a little too predictable.
Bottom line: A fun and funny, light-but-not-too-light romance, great for summer reading. Kick of your sandals, order up a tall iced tea, and enjoy!
* * *
Rating: 3.5 stars
Category: Contemporary romance
Series: Fool's Gold #15
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release date: June 24, 2014
Book source: review copy from the publisher via NetGalley
The Fool's Gold Series in order:
1. Chasing Perfect
2. Almost Perfect
2.5 Sister of the Bride (novella, in Summer Brides)
3. Finding Perfect
4. Only Mine
5. Only Yours
6. Only His
6.1 Only Ours (short story/novella)
6.2 Almost Summer (novella)
7. Summer Days
8. Summer Nights
9. All Summer Long
9.5 A Fool's Gold Christmas (review)
9.75 Halfway There (short story/novella)
10. Just One Kiss
11. Two of a Kind
12. Three Little Words (review)
12.5 Christmas on 4th Street (review)
13. When We Met (review)
14. Before We Kiss (review)
15. Until We Touch (this review)
15.5 Yours for Christmas (novella; forthcoming in ebook)
About the author:
With more than 25 million books sold worldwide, New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery is known for creating characters who feel as real as the folks next door, and for putting them into emotional, often funny situations readers recognize from their own lives. Susan’s books have made Booklist’s Top 10 Romances list in four out of five consecutive years. RT Book Reviews says, “When it comes to heartfelt contemporary romance, Mallery is in a class by herself.” With her popular, ongoing Fool’s Gold series, Susan has reached new heights on the bestsellers lists and has won the hearts of countless new fans.
Susan grew up in southern California, moved so many times that her friends stopped writing her address in pen, and now has settled in Seattle with her husband and the most delightfully spoiled little dog who ever lived. (biography source: author's website)